News & Analysis

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    For Netflix and Amazon, film may be much harder to tackle than television

    A few days ago, the Internet giants finally joined Hollywood’s elite when Transparent became the first show distributed solely by a tech company — in this case, Amazon — to win Best Series at a major award show — in this case, the Golden Globes. It was a triumph not just for Amazon, and not just for the larger community of disruptive newcomers to television, which includes Netflix and Hulu. It was, quite frankly, a triumph for great, risky, and challenging…
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    Quiz: CES gadget or SkyMall product?

    SkyMall, the catalog featuring hilariously unnecessary products like a human slingshot and $100 USB cufflinks, has filed for bankruptcy. Poring through the SkyMall catalog was a cherished event for air travelers, at least for those ten or fifteen minutes during takeoff and landing when some flight attendants still give fliers grief for using electronic devices. The reasons for the liquidationm however, are not necessarily related to the ridiculousness of the selling dog spa gift boxes and…
  4. Overheard

    Delhi rape victim’s lawyer: We have no confidence in Uber’s safety measures

    “While we have no doubt Uber is focused on its bottom-line, we are surprised by this development as we had made it clear to Uber that the rape victim wanted to be part of the consultation process regarding the safety procedures to ensure that no other person becomes a victim at the hands of an Uber driver. Most unfortunately this has not happened and we have no confidence that the ‘India-specific safety measures’ will prevent another attack.” ~Douglas H. Wigdor,…
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    Here are the confirmed speakers (so far!) for Pandoland 2015. It’s going to be ridiculous

    I couldn’t be more excited at how this year’s Pandoland conference is shaping up. We just put more tickets on sale, at the early bird price of $699 for the full three day event, June 15th-17th 2015. The venue is the same as last year: Marathon Music Works in Nashville, Tennessee. (And, yes, that photo above really is of the audience from last year’s event, taken during one of the nighttime music sessions.) Paul and I are going to Nashville…
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    Wikipedia tacitly endorses GamerGate by blocking its opponents from editing gender-related articles

    Wikipedia’s arbitration committee, which acts as the organization’s top decision-maker, has banned several people from editing articles related to gender and sexuality. Why? Because they sought to prevent the site from taking a positive stance on GamerGate. For anyone who has managed to forget what GamerGate is: it’s a movement that claims to be about ethics in games journalism, though many of its adherents are more devoted to harassing women who make, critique, or have some other form of involvement with the video game…
  8. nsa

    Obama said to scrap plans to privatize NSA-collected metadata

    President Obama has reportedly scrapped plans to have a private company hold the phone metadata collected through National Security Agency surveillance programs. Reuters says in a report citing several anonymous security professionals that the plan was abandoned because it’s seen as “unworkable for both legal and practical reasons.” A source told Reuters that the decision is not final, but privatizing the data seems unlikely. The plan was first proposed after the government faced widespread criticism when the NSA’s worldwide surveillance dragnets were revealed to the public…
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    LA Mayor orders LAX to create a level playing field for taxis and ridesharing companies

    Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered LAX to draft new rules that would allow Uber and Lyft to operate. In a letter sent last fall, Garcetti urged the airport commission to create a “level playing field” for ridesharing companies and taxis. … Taxis are subject to a byzantine set of regulations, which have been in place for decades. Airport officials are now considering imposing some of those rules on Uber and Lyft, while eliminating others for taxis. [LA Weekly]
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    Tomorrow: Jose Antonio Vargas and many, many more great speakers join us for “Don’t Be Awful.” You should too!

    A quick reminder that Don’t Be Awful — our 24-hour event to hatch ideas for a better Silicon Valley — starts at noon tomorrow in San Francisco, and live online at dontbeawful.com. Confirmed participants include Jose Antonio Vargas, Rachel Sklar, Tim O’Reilly, David Hornik, Paul Judge, Brad Feld, and many, many more. We’re still adding names to the list, so check out the official site for the latest confirmations. The event runs non-stop from noon on Saturday to noon…
  12. Nashville Sunrise Session - Middle Tennessee Shutterbugsl - Sept. 2, 2011

    Launch Tennessee: This is why startups hate working with politicians

    A quick update from Pando’s department of public fights we really don’t have time for… Pando historians will remember that, last year, our flagship Nashville conference (then called “Southland”) was produced in partnership with “Launch Tennessee,” the state-funded regional development agency tasked with encouraging entrepreneurship in Tennessee. We were responsible for the on-stage content and guests, and brought in the vast majority of sponsors, and Launch Tennessee helped with logistics and fronted part of the cost. This year’s event — Pandoland! —…
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    Senators introduce bill to rein-in law enforcement use of location data

    Numerous senators from around the country have (re-)presented a bill which would require law enforcement to obtain warrants before gathering location information from phones, GPS devices, and the “stingrays” which mimic cell towers to gather data. The bill was co-written by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR.), who has previously argued against the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and the FBI’s efforts to force tech companies to include “backdoors” into their products to assist with domestic spying. The bill’s inclusion of location…
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    Apple may have compromised everyone’s security for access to China

    Apple is said to have given the Chinese government access to the software used in its iPhones to conduct “security checks” meant to ensure the privacy of China’s citizens. The revelation comes courtesy of a tweet from one of China’s state-run publications and a Beijing News report claiming Apple chief executive Tim Cook authorized the checks. China’s government originally delayed the launch of Apple’s latest iPhones within the country because it feared they might be used by foreign governments to…
  16. Aaron Levie

    After a long, long road to IPO, Box’s shares pop 60 percent in early trading

    After more than a year of fits and stops along the road to IPO, shares of enterprise storage company Box began trading this morning on the New York Stock Exchange. The company completed the sale 12.5 million shares to investors at a price of $14 per share yesterday, exceeding its pre-IPO estimated range of $11 to $13, but falling short of the $20 per share at which it raised its last private round in July 2014. The offering will…
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    Twinning: The Winklevoss brothers reveal plans for a regulated Bitcoin exchange dubbed Gemini

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Winklevoss twins have a brilliant idea and they’ve hired some smart-as-hell programmers to help build it for them. The good news is, this latest idea is about as far from the college social network Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss famously “invented” while at Harvard. That said, it stands a good chance of being just about as controversial. The brothers’ new project, Gemini, is a self-described “next generation bitcoin exchange” that is “…
  19. behind bars

    Barrett Brown and the United States’ war on journalism

    The criminalization of journalism in the United States continued yesterday with the sentencing of Barrett Brown, an independent journalist who covered the Anonymous collective who received 63 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution. (The 28 months he has already served in prison will be deducted from the sentence.) Brown was arrested for publishing links to stolen information which was made public by Anonymous and other hacker groups. That’s right: merely linking to already-public data which happened to have…
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    Twitter doesn’t need to “beat” Instagram — and should feel no shame about telling people to stop using it

    You probably wouldn’t hear Pepsi overtly tell customers to stop drinking Coca-Cola. They might make veiled attacks on a non-specific “competitor” in an advertisement. But without empirical evidence for why Pepsi is better than Coke, mentioning Coke by name would not only risk drawing undue attention to a product that is already more popular than Pepsi — it would also come off as a little desperate. And yet, according to Mashable, that’s what Twitter has ostensibly done with a prompt sent…
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